Blue Light Special

Lack of sleep ranks in my top five most-reviled life experiences.
The problem dates back to birth – according to family lore, poor mom would strap me in the car seat at often ungodly hours and loop around the center of our little town in hopes of lulling me into lalaland. About 30% of folks apparently experience this elusive rest, too. Sleeplessness happens as a result of any number of influences, but one of the most significant in recent years has become our increased exposure to blue light.

Described as an attention/reaction/energy booster when we’re exposed during the day – via fluorescent lights and computers and smartphones — it’s no surprise that blue light at night will alter your natural tendency to drift off. In simple speak, it delays the release of Melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that induces sleep. Reading emails and churning through your Instagram feed while laying in bed can also promote your adrenal glands’ production of Cortisol, a stress hormone. Introducing these hormones as you hit the hay won’t do much for your finding rest. Research indicates that, in order to diffuse the effects of blue light, you should refrain from watching tv or using your computer or phone at least two hours before bed in order to allow your body to wind down. Be sure to place your phone at least three feet away from you while sleeping – this can help alleviate any temptation of grabbing your phone should you wake, as well as reduce your exposure to the electromagnetic frequencies emitted by it. And, if you use a night light, consider purchasing a red-tinted bulb, as it may prove less stimulating than a regular bulb. Keep your bedroom a place of solace and quiet.

I’ve developed a nasty habit of checking the weather and catching up on the day’s events once the lights go out… but more important is my lifelong quest for sweet dreams. So I’m going to turn off and tune out. Just after I watch one more YouTube video about cats ruining Christmas trees…

slip

candle

yellow

+ More health & beauty tips from the BLDG 25 blog!

Comments

  1. A tip if you REALLY need to watch that youtube clip at night… f.lux is a free programme that you install at your computer, you fill in your time zone (for me, it’s Stockholm/Paris time) and then the programme will adjust the amount of blue light in your computer according to the sunlight. At night you will have a quite yellowish screen, which is not so good for photo editing but oh so nice for the sleep. It’s a life saver. Thank you for a truly inspiring blog <3

  2. I downloaded f.lux to my computer, too, and I absolutely adore it. Beware: at first it definitely takes some getting used to, but I stuck with it, and now when I disable the app, I am absolutely shocked at how brightly abrasive my screen is! Really has been helping with making nighttime more pleasant.

    As another suggestion, check out the book Hush, by Rubin Naiman, PhD. It’s a lovely little bedside book with “prescriptions for sleep,” to help get us in the mindset of honoring sleep.

  3. Two other things:
    – Center for Environmental Therapeutics (cet.org) has quizzes that help you understand whether your sleep cycle is shifted and if so, how to rectify it using light lamps. Also have product reviews on the latter.
    – If taking melatonin, Dr. Naiman suggests sublingual melatonin liquid. Apparently more physiologic and quicker absorbed. Health food stores have it.

  4. I have had some serious sleeping issues when I first saw this post. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try, and WOW! I sleep amazing! Now I don’t open my laptop after supper and I read instead. If I feel the urge for music I skip spotify and use my record player instead. I think I will move my phone across the room (This will make me wake up when my alarm goes off too)

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